From digital transformation to artificial intelligence, speakers from the Festival of Marketing reveal the biggest trends to expect in 2017 and beyond.
The Festival of Marketing 2016 brought together more than 200 professionals for workshops and live debates, to learn about what’s been driving the industry — and to discuss what’s coming next.
Here, panelists share what they think is the next big thing for marketing in this digital age.
Digital transformation can’t be an isolated programme
“Digital transformation is a hot topic for many companies at the moment. While in the past business transformation was driven internally, digital transformation is now mostly customer-driven. The customer is increasingly digital and mobile. He or she expects timely, relevant and personalised experiences — anytime and anywhere. Companies that don’t adjust to this new reality will become irrelevant.
“True digital transformation can’t be an isolated programme. It needs to be ingrained in the overall DNA of a company. It entails not only digital marketing and sales, but also connected digital propositions (apps, websites, in-store technologies and so on) and new business models. To be successful, digital transformation must be managed as an organisational change (processes, culture, staff), not just a technological one.”
Paul Poels, global lead of digital analytics, Philips
Artificial intelligence offers a way to be more personal
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next frontier for marketing. It poses an enormous opportunity to create more meaningful connections than we’ve ever had. But getting clients to see it as a powerful tool — which can make them more relevant and effective — is a challenge.
“AI takes millions of bytes of data and analyses it, providing a deeper understanding of customer behaviour and belief. That’s a powerful insight. As the industry begins to grapple with ad-blocking and a consumer with a more sophisticated eye, AI offers a way to be more personal, targeted and relevant. It allows brands to offer the right kind of marketing and content, at precisely the right time.
“Millennials, for example, are more concerned with being entertained by brands that really understand their need for a one-to-one relationship. Brands that are willing to invest in making a ‘real’ connection will reap the rewards.”
Tash Whitmey, CEO, Havas Helia
Social media is crucial for customer interaction
“Irrespective of the industry you work in, social media is playing a more important role in customer interaction. An effective strategy here can do more for your reputation than anything else. For example, our business is about supporting parents through the first 1,000 days of their baby’s life. Parents are reaching out on social channels for advice. It’s important that we can offer reassurance and guidance in a timely and efficient manner.
“By simplifying our processes, and reviewing our community management team and most frequently asked questions, we’ve developed an approach that has taken our response times down to 20 minutes across all social channels. It’s not easy, but the digital world is where your most engaged consumers are, so it really is crucial. Be genuinely accessible and responsive to your consumers.”
Tom Benton, head of digital, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition UK
The internet of things (IoT) will create brand ecosystems
“Omnichannel marketing is where a customer has a seamless experience, no matter the time, place or device (desktop, mobile, tablet). This requires access to lots of data in order to develop a single customer view — a consistent summary of a customer’s relationships with an organisation or brand.
“The connection of everyday devices to the web, via IoT, will give brands a far richer dataset. Such a dataset could enable them to understand consumer psychology based on specific moments (for example, preparing dinner for the family) rather than just demographics and general interests.
“According to Intel, there could be up to 200 billion connected devices by 2020. From a marketing perspective, once products are connected to the internet, they can start to have a transformative effect on industry structures. Look no further than Uber for an example of that.
“Transformational projects should always be led by a clear and overarching strategy, which requires a keen understanding of the customer and market, strong leadership and disciplined action.”
Seán Donnelly, senior research analyst, Econsultancy